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5 from 1 vote

North Carolina Brunswick Stew Recipe

Smoky, meaty, chock full of vegetables and a rich tomato forward zing is what you are looking for in a North Carolina Brunswick Stew Recipe and this one ticks all the boxes. It’s easy to put together and I’ll give you all of the steps to make your own and have your family BEGGING you to make it again!
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time2 hrs
Total Time2 hrs 30 mins
Course: main
Cuisine: American
Keyword: brunswick stew, north carolina brunswick stew
Servings: 12 servings
Calories: 370kcal
Author: Wendi Spraker
Cost: $20


  • cutting board
  • knife
  • Large stock pot with lid
  • bowl
  • large spoon
  • Peeler
  • measuring cups and spoons
  • can opener
  • Stove
  • Oven safe pan


To prepare chicken

  • 1 ½ lbs bone in chicken skin removed (white or dark meat, your choice, I recommend dark)
  • 1 tbs kosher salt
  • 1 celery ribs leave whole with leaves attached at top
  • 1 whole sweet onion leave skin on and cut in half
  • 1 head of garlic leave skin on and cut in half across the equator
  • 2 Carrots wash, cut into 4” long pieces
  • 2 bay leaves

To prepare pork

  • 1 ½ lbs country style pork ribs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbs onion powder
  • 1 Tbs Garlic Powder
  • 2 Tsp Granulated White Sugar
  • 2 tbs olive oil

To prepare potatoes

  • 1 ½ Lbs Russet Potatoes peeled and cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 Tbs Kosher Salt
  • Water to cover the potatoes

Now Make the Stew:

  • 1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • ½ whole sweet onion
  • 1 ½ lbs Russet potatoes cooked and prepared as noted below
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 Tbs Worcestershire
  • 2 tbs dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 C wickles wicked pickle juice sweet pickle juice
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 Tsp liquid smoke
  • 1 can sweet niblet corn drained
  • 1 can baby lima beans see notes
  • 2 Tbs butter
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 Cup reserved broth
  • Salt and pepper to taste


For the chicken

  • In a 6-8 quart stock pot cover chicken with water and fill to within 3” of the rim and add tbs kosher salt, celery ribs, onion (leave skin on), head garlic (leave skin on) and carrots
  • Bring to a light simmer over medium high heat and then reduce to low to maintain the simmer. Do not stir.
  • When meat is tender and falling from the bone (about 45mins - it might be more or less depending on the cut of chicken you are using), remove the meat from the water with tongs, allow to cool and pick the meat from the bones. Place into a large bowl (or if you have another large stock pot, put the meat in the stock pot). DO NOT DISCARD THE REMAINING WATER IN THE STOCKPOT, YOU WILL NEED IT LATER.

For the pork

  • Preheat the oven to 350
  • Lightly grease an oven proof dish (I am using an oven safe skillet, a roasting pan works too). Place the pork into the dish fat side up (if you note that one side is fatter than the other) and sprinkle with kosher salt, sugar, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder. Drizzle the top with olive oil.
  • Place the pork into the oven to roast uncovered.
  • Check the meat after 40 minutes, when it is ready, it will have shrunk considerably, and feel almost hard on the edges. If it isn’t to this point, put back in the oven and check every 5-10 minutes until it is ready.
  • When ready, allow to cool enough to touch. Remove it from the pan (just set the pan aside, you’ll need it momentarily).
  • Using a large kitchen knife or a clever, cut the pork into small pieces and discard any bones.
  • You’ll notice that there will be some blackened and crusty pieces of meat and fat stuck to the bottom of the pan you cooked in.
  • Pour off any accumulated grease and then place the pan on the stove. Set the heat on high. Allow the pan to heat for about 3 minutes. Dip about ½ cup of the water that the chicken is cooking in and pour it in the pork pan, all at once. (This will make a great deal of steam and a loud racket).
  • Use a wooden spoon or spatula to scrape up the bits and pieces of everything in the pork pan. If you don’t have enough stock to do this, add another ½ cup.
  • Once you have everything cleaned from the pan, set it aside.

For the potatoes

  • Peel the potatoes and cut into bite sized pieces.
  • Place the potatoes into a sauce pan and cover with water. Add 1 Tbs salt.
  • Heat over medium high heat until water is lightly boiling, reduce heat to low. Boil until the potatoes are fork tender. (A fork slides through easily).
  • Pour the potatoes into a colander and drain well.
  • Place 25% of the cooked potato chunks into a bowl and set aside.
  • Place the remaining 75% of the potatoes into a different large bowl and use a potato masher to mash the potatoes well.

Now Make the Stew

  • In an 8 quart stockpot, combine the chicken, pork, the drippings and juice from the pork pan, the mashed part of the potatoes and gently mix together.
  • Then add the crushed tomatoes, onion, red pepper flakes, worcestershire, brown sugar, pickle juice, ketchup, liquid smoke, corn, limas, butter, fish sauce and one cup of the reserved chicken stock (the water you cooked the chicken in). Give it all a big stir until everything is well mixed.
  • Add the reserved potato chunks and after this stir gently so as not to break them up.
  • Heat on the stove to a simmer over medium heat. When simmering, reduce to low, put the lid on the pot and stir frequently (at least every 5-10 minutes). Allow to simmer for at least 30 minutes but longer is better.
  • If the stew is thicker than you prefer, add more of the reserved chicken stock.
  • Be sure to taste and add salt and pepper as needed.



  • If you prefer NO potato chunks in your stew, then mash all of the potatoes. We like to have some chunky potato pieces.
  • This stew will have lots of stringy meat, that is one of its features. There will likely also be chunks of meat. If you prefer all stringy meat, then use forks to shred the meat before putting it in the stew.
  • You can use frozen corn or baby limas, but my experience has been that these tend to be tougher in the final product and take a longer end simmer. The canned ones are softened and just need to heat up.
  • Prefer Margaret Holmes seasoned canned lima beans. It’s ok to use other lima beans or frozen but it wont’ taste the same. The margaret holmes beans are always the right texture and flavor.
  • Prefer Sweet Niblets canned corn. It’s ok to use other corn or frozen corn of the same amount, but it won’t taste as good.
  • If you can’t find Wickles Whicked Pickles, that’s ok. Just use Sweet Pickle juice and add ¼ tsp of cayenne to your recipe.
  • If you end up using frozen corn or lima beans, be sure to cook the stew long enough after adding these for them to soften sufficiently.
  • Using meat on the bone helps add flavor and thickness to your stew. You can substitute boneless versions but this will rob your stew of flavor and some of the thickness.
PRO TIP: After cooking the meat and using whatever of the remaining liquid you may need in the stew, Save the remaining stock and freeze it. Use it in any recipe where you would use stock or broth.


Serving: 1cup | Calories: 370kcal | Carbohydrates: 37g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 80mg | Sodium: 1925mg | Potassium: 1028mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 11g | Vitamin A: 2059IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 69mg | Iron: 3mg